How Much Should I Save for Retirement?


Until you stop working, one of the biggest financial questions you may have is: “How much do I need to save?” (After you retire, it might shift ever so slightly to: “Did I save enough?”)

One ballpark figure you'll hear from many financial experts is 20 percent of your salary. That's what you should aim to put away for all savings goals, including building an emergency fund, going on vacation, paying for college and funding your retirement.

At the least, if your employer offers a 401(k), be sure to contribute enough to capture any company match—e.g. if your employer will give you 50 cents for every dollar you invest in your 401(k) up to 6 percent of your salary, aim to contribute at least 6 percent. It’s free money! You can also invest up to $5,500 (for 2017) in an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

Related: What's the Difference Between an IRA and a 401(k)?

Another rule of thumb: Shoot to replace at least 70 percent of your pre-retirement income after you stop working. So, to figure out how much you’ll need to save before then, subtract the Social Security payments you expect to get (you can estimate that on the Social Security Administration’s site) and multiply the remaining number by how many years you expect your retirement to last. (Morbid, we know.) You can also play around with a retirement savings calculator—like the ones from Bankrate or Kiplinger or your bank or brokerage—to crunch the numbers.

Got a money question? Send it to us at

This information is being provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, accounting, legal or tax advice. You should consult your tax or legal adviser regarding such matters.